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May 18, 2009

As the Eurovision entrants return home, the home crowds weigh in

As the Eurovision entrants return home, the home crowds weigh in

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Monday, May 18, 2009

The Eurovision Song Contest 2009 is now over, but the newspapers of Europe are still alive with stories and comments, both positive and negative.

Most of the Eurovision entrants have returned home from their sojourn in Moscow, Russia, and the newspapers across Europe have varied opinions. Most national newspapers congratulated their entrants on a job well done, while others trash-talked other entrants, and still others called for their countries to pull out of the Contest.

Here are some interviews, articles and opinions that made it to the front pages of newspapers and to their sanctioned blogs.

Flag of Norway.svg Norway

Norway’s mass media was filled with stories revolving around the winner, Alexander Rybak, but a secondary story that received press coverage was outcry against NRK’s Eurovision commentator, Synnøve Svabø, who was criticized for talking incessantly during the event, making leering comments regarding the contents inside the male entrants’ tight pants, and making a joke about stuffing sweatsocks in her own bra. When asked for a statement by Aftenposten, Svabø said, “I guess people think I should have put the socks in my throat.” NRK did not comment on Svabø’s commentating or whether she will be returning next year.

Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden

Sweden’s newspaper Aftonbladet wrote that the “Swede of the evening” was not Sweden’s entrant Malena Ernman, but Malmö-raised Arash Labaf, one of the two singers placing third for Azerbaijan. Markus Larsson wrote, “21st place? Well, this is our second-worst result ever…Malena Ernman fell so far and deep that she almost ended up in Finland. That is to say, almost last.” When asked if she was disappointed, Ernman responded, “No, but I am sorry if the Swedes are disappointed.” She went on to quip, “Europe is simply not ready for my high notes.”

Flag of Finland.svg Finland

Finland, despite placing last, wrote upbeat stories; Helsingin Sanomat published an interview with Waldo and Karoliina from the Finnish act, Waldo’s People, who announced how happy they were to have participated and will be going right back to work with performances and recordings as soon as they return to Finland.

Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom

Most British newspapers in past years published lengthy screeds regarding their bad luck in the Contest and whether they should send an entrant at all. This year all that talk subsided, and newspapers published articles congratulating Jade Ewen on her fifth place ranking. Sir Terry Wogan, former Eurovision commentator for the BBC, said to the Daily Express about this year’s voting overhaul, “I think my protest about the voting was totally vindicated by the changes that were made to the scoring this year. It made a real difference. It was the change that Eurovision needed.” One of the headlines in Monday’s Daily Mail reads: “She did us proud.” Andrew Lloyd Webber, who worked with Ewen, said, “Jade performed brilliantly. After years of disappointing results, the UK can finally hold its head high.”

Flag of Spain.svg Spain

Spain’s newspaper El Mundo published an article entitled “Soraya’s fiasco,” outlining Soraya Arnelas’s failure to receive points from 37 of the 41 other voting nations, with the writer remarking, “After a whole year trying to forget [Rodolfo Chikilicuatre, Spain’s “joke entrant” from 2008], Soraya jumped on-stage with strength…Spain’s experiment ended with longing [for] Rodolfo Chikilicuatre.” When asked about her performance and the result, Arnelas said, “I’ll hang on to the experiences I had, the great friends that I made and I’m happy because now I’m known in Europe.”

Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest logo.png
Related stories
  • Azerbaijan win 2011 Eurovision Song Contest
  • Belgian Eurovision singer Fud Leclerc dies at age 86
  • As the Eurovision entrants return home, the home crowds weigh in

External links

Flag of France.svg France

French newspapers and blogs were muted compared to other countries, but the overall feeling was still very supportive of Patricia Kaas, who placed eighth. In an interview with Le Figaro, Kaas said, “Eighth place, that’s not so bad. It was a great moment for France, we held our head high.” France Soir noted, “[Kaas’s] emotion does not seem to have found a place with competitors that have relied on heavy artillery choreography worthy of those like Shakira, and glamorous outfits, to ensure a place on the podium.”

Flag of Germany.svg Germany

German newspapers published lengthy stories analyzing why Germany was in the bottom quartile for the third straight year. Die Welt wrote, “The Germans have become accustomed to it: winning the Eurovision Song Contest just does not work [for us]. [Compared] to the total failure of last place with No Angels last year, [this] result is almost a sensational success.” Bild commented, “For years we have had little success. Germany’s placement, despite all efforts, will not be better. Why are we still participating in the Eurovision Song Contest?”

Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland

Ireland, who failed to make it to the final, led the cry to pull out of Eurovision. In the Irish Independent, Ian O’Doherty wrote, “Ireland managed something quite rare and rather gratifying last week — we actually managed to produce a Eurovision song that didn’t make you want to rip off your own eyelids so you could stuff them in your ears to stop the horrible sounds…[Sinéad] Mulvey’s elimination is proof of one thing: we need to pull out of this pile of rubbish as soon as possible.”

Flag of the Netherlands.svg The Netherlands

The Netherlands, another nation that did not make it past the semi-final round, has been very apathetic toward the Contest in recent years, and this year was no different. De Telegraaf conducted an opinion poll of Dutch television viewers, and 90% of them believed the Netherlands should not enter the Contest anymore. Despite the stated apathy, 2.5 million Dutch viewers watched De Toppers compete in the second semi-final, an improvement of 800,000 from last year’s semi-final, where Dutch entrant Hind also failed to advance. De Toppers singer Gordon, in an interview with De Telegraaf, said that the Netherlands should continue to compete: “One time, we will succeed.”

Who said what about whom?

Count Heidi Stephens of The Guardian out of the party celebrating Alexander Rybak’s victory. Stephens wrote, “Could someone…poke him in the eye with his violin bow, please? Fairytale my ass.”

Apart from judging themselves, the newspapers throughout Europe were eager to throw sarcastic quips and insults at the other songs. Here are some of the highlights from different countries.

  • Flag of Spain.svg David Gistau of Spain’s El Mundo newspaper said of Swede Malena Ernman, “Her song evoked [thoughts of] the victims’ cries in ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’.” Gistau went on to criticize Russia’s entrant for her choice in wardrobe, remarking, “…she was not given time to change before going on-stage and was dressed in a shower curtain.”
  • Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Heidi Stephens of the UK’s Guardian newspaper, while doing a “live blog” of the event, remarked of Norway, “He’s like a little Dickensian schoolboy with a violin and bonkers eyebrows, and it’s all very theatrical, with backing dancers in braces doing gymnastics. It’s like a stage school performance of Fiddler on the Roof. Could someone please poke him in the eye with his violin bow, please? Fairytale my ass.” The comment, especially the final sentence, was repeated in Norway’s national newspapers the next day. Popular British radio and TV host Jonathan Ross, in The Daily Mirror, commented on Maltese entrant Chiara, “Malta reminded me of Arnie Schwarzenegger when he is made into a woman in Total Recall.”
  • Flag of Denmark.svg Erik Jensen of the Danish newspaper Politiken deemed Germany’s entry “Miss Kiss Kiss Bang” “a corny version of ‘Aristocats’ in Porno Land.” After watching Romania’s entry “The Balkan Girls,” Jensen quipped, “I wonder how many silicone breasts can be on stage without the balloons bouncing off one another?”
  • Flag of Germany.svg The German newspaper Express commented on Albania’s entry “Carry Me In Your Dreams” with this description: “The singer looked like a Barbie from the ’80s, long blonde hair and a pink dress with frills….what the mint-colored Spiderman covered with sequins [did] behind her, nobody could explain.” Ralf Dorschel in the newspaper Hamburger Morgenpost described Malena Ernman from Sweden as “the queen of the night on speed, a nightmare.”

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July 26, 2007

Tour de France: Daniele Bennati wins stage 17

Filed under: Archived,Cycling,Europe,France,France Soir,Sports — admin @ 5:00 am

Tour de France: Daniele Bennati wins stage 17

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tour de France 2007
Tour de France 2007.png
Other Tour de France 2007 stories
  • 29 July 2007: Tour de France: Alberto Contador wins the grand tour
  • 28 July 2007: Tour de France: Levi Leipheimer wins stage 19
  • 27 July 2007: Tour de France: Sandy Casar wins stage 18
  • 26 July 2007: Tour de France: Daniele Bennati wins stage 17
  • 25 July 2007: Tour de France: Yellow jersey Rasmussen withdrawn
Tourdefrance.png
More info from Wikipedia
  • Tour de France
  • 2007 Tour de France
  • Prologue to Stage 10
  • Stage 11 to Stage 20

Joseba Beloki, Alberto Contador, Vuelta al País Vasco 2006.
Image: Liberty Seguros.

Christian Moreni in the 2006 Tour de France.
Image: Shane McGregor.

Daniele Bennati of Italy has won stage 17 of the 2007 Tour de France in a time of 4h 14′ 04″.

Alberto Contador of Spain, who finished with the peleton gets the yellow jersey since Rabobank pulled the previous leader, Michael Rasmussen from the Tour.

The 188.5 km road stage, from Pau to Castelsarrasin, leaves the mountains behind and turns north towards Paris. This stage has a series of small climbs, but should give those sprinters who have survived the chance to earn some points.

Cofidis team leaves Tour after Moreni fails blood test

High blood levels of testosterone were found in the blood of Cristian Moreni, and his team Cofidis consequently decided to pull all their riders out of the Tour after yesterday’s stage.

Media sources in France and other countries are discussing whether or not the Tour should be canceled. France Soir called the last 48 hours “a living nightmare” in a mock obituary of the 104-year-old Tour de France.

Alexander Vinokourov and the entire w:Astana Team on Tuesday because Vinokourov failed a blood doping test conducted after Saturday’s stage.

Rabobank pulled overall-Tour-leader Michael Rasmussen on Wednesday after winning that day’s stage for violating team rules on reporting whereabouts during training. The rest of the Rabobank team is still in the Tour.

“Obviously this gives a disastrous image of the Tour de France, but at the same time, if we encourage the organizers, we can clean up French sports and in particular cycling,” said French PM François Fillon.

Bradley Wiggins, a British rider for the Cofidis team said, “I don’t want to continue in the Tour de France anyway, it is not supposed to be like this.”

A public network in Germany has stopped broadcasting the Tour de France, and a Swiss newspaper no longer covers the event. World Anti-Doping Agency vice president Jean-François Lamour said on Wednesday that maybe cycling should no longer be an Olympic discipline.

Stage 17 result

Rank Rider Team Time
1 Daniele Bennati Lampre-Fondital 4h 14’04”
2 Markus Fothen Team Gerolsteiner s.t.”
3 Martin Elmiger AG2R Prévoyance s.t.”
4 Jens Voigt Team CSC s.t.”
5 David Millar Saunier Duval-Prodir +2’41”
6 Matteo Tosatto Quick Step-Innergetic +2’43”
7 Manuel Quinziato Liquigas +3’20”
8 Daniele Righi Lampre-Fondital s.t.”
9 Tom Boonen Quick Step-Innergetic +9’37”
10 Sylvain Chavanel Française des Jeux s.t.”

General classification after stage 17

Rank Rider Team Time
1 Alberto Contador Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 80h 42′ 08″
2 Cadel Evans Predictor-Lotto +1′ 53″
3 Levi Leipheimer Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team +2′ 49″
4 Carlos Sastre Team CSC +6′ 02″
5 Haimar Zubeldia Euskaltel-Euskadi +6′ 29″
6 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d’Epargne +10′ 18″
7 Kim Kirchen T-Mobile Team +11′ 36″
8 Yaroslav Popovych Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team +12′ 50″
9 Mauricio Soler Barloworld +13′ 31″
10 Mikel Astarloza Euskaltel-Euskadi +13′ 42″

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February 11, 2006

Protest held against Muhammad caricatures in Paris

Protest held against Muhammad caricatures in Paris

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Some protesters waved the Koran

Several thousand Muslims protested today in Paris, France, as well as the eastern city of Strasbourg, against the publication of caricatures of the prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper and the re-publication of some of these caricatures in French newspapers: the daily France Soir and the weekly Charlie Hebdo.

The signs read “Muslims have a right to respect” and “Freedom of expression includes duties and responsibilities”

The protesters consider that these caricatures insulted their prophet, and thus, they contend, their religion and themselves. Charlie Hebdo is a weekly paper known for its extremely acerbic positions against organized religion; it often mocks Catholicism, the largest religious denomination in France.

Some banners claimed that freedom of speech should not imply the possibility of insulting religious figures. Other banners claimed that French society was applying dual standards. Some protesters demanded a law against “islamophobia”; France does not have blasphemy laws and has a tradition of anticlericalism.

Many of the female protesters wore a scarf to hide their hair, and some wore a hijab or veil. The French government enacted a law prohibiting conspicuous religious symbols in government-operated schools, a move widely considered to be targeting the veil and scarf, which many consider a sign of subordination of females.

Some protesters called for “stopping provocations”

The protest was organized by Muslim associations from the Paris region, most notably the Union of Muslim Associations from Seine-Saint-Denis. Seine-Saint-Denis, a département with a high proportion of immigrants, is notorious for social tensions. This is where the 2005 civil unrest started from.

Some protesters carried Saudi Arabia and Turkish flags. No French flags were seen.

In a related move, the French Council for Muslim Worship (CFCM), a private nonprofit considered by the French government to be its main contact with the Muslim community, is litigating against the newspapers, alleging the publication of the caricatures incited to religious hatred. Muslim associations attempted to prevent the publication of Charlie Hebdo, but their claim was rejected on procedural grounds.

The protest was followed at a distance by a large complement of CRS and other police forces. No notable incidents were mentioned.

Additional fake Jyllands-Posten cartoons circulating in the Middle East

In related news, it has come to attention that a number of additional cartoons not included in the Jyllands-Posten set may have had a role in bringing the issue to international attention. For example, three images which are reported to be considerably more obscene were portrayed in Gaza as if they had been part of the Jyllands-Posten set. One of the pictures, a photocopied photograph of a man with a pig’s ears and snout, has been identified as an old Associated Press picture from a French “pig-squealing” contest, and makes no reference to Islam. It was reportedly circulated by Danish Muslims as if it was an anti-Islamic image. These and other images circulating around the Middle-East are partly responsible for much of the violent protest. The problem is being escalated by restrictions on the media in the Middle-East — for example, attempts to accurately portray the Jyllands-Posten cartoons and paint an accurate picture of the situation in the Jordanian media led to the arrest of two Jordanian editors, and the pulping of many newspapers before they were distributed.

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Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy
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February 3, 2006

Tensions continue to rise in Middle East over \”Mohammad Cartoons\”

Tensions continue to rise in Middle East over “Mohammad Cartoons”

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Friday, February 3, 2006

The publishing of a series of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a Copenhagen newspaper sparked a string of harsh and in some places violent reactions in the Middle East, forcing European leaders to try to calm the situation.

This backlash started in late September 2005, when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a dozen cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad. The images ranged from serious to comical in nature; a particularly controversial cartoon portrays Mohammad with a bomb wrapped in his turban. The Jutland-based newspaper states that the images were meant to inspire some level of public debate over the image of Islam in Europe, and had no direct aim of offending anyone.

However, many Muslims follow the doctrine of aniconism concerning the portrayal of Mohammad. This tenet of Islam states that the Prophet Mohammad should not be depicted in any type of art, regardless of the intent of the piece. This belief, along with the potentially insensitive nature of some of the caricatures, have caused offense to many Muslims in the Arab world.

In the past month, the controversy over these cartoons escalated. The cartoons were re-published last month in Spain, Italy, Germany, France and the Netherlands (where the latter two nations have large Muslim populations), and have begun to re-circulate throughout the Middle East.

Many Danish companies have been targeted for boycotts. As Wikinews reported last week, Arla Foods, Denmark’s top dairy company, has seen their sales fall to zero in some Middle East nations. Carrefour, a French retail chain, has pulled all Danish products from its shelves in the region. Earlier this week, protests were held throughout the region, including the Gaza Strip in Jerusalem, where Hamas supporters led an assault and protest that surrounded the European Union offices for Israel.

Hamas members, some armed with guns, stormed the EU office (which is primarily staffed by Arabs) and demanded apologies from EU member states, saying they would otherwise face serious consequences. “It will be a suitable reaction, and it won’t be predictable,” said Abu Hafss, a member of the Al Quds Brigade (an affiliate of the group Islamic Jihad), in a press conference outside the EU offices. And the Abu al-Reesh Brigades, a group related to the late Yassir Arafat’s Fatah party, warned that EU member states had 10 hours to apologize for the cartoons or their citizens would be “in danger”.

Jamila Al Shanty, a newly elected Hamas legislator, stated that more rallies will be planned in protest of the cartoons. “We are angry – very, very, very angry,” Al Shanty said today, adding that “No one can say a bad word about our prophet.”

The Iranian newspaper Hamshari daily has stated that on February 8 it will publish anti-semitic cartoons in response to the Danish cartoons, apparently failing to notice that Denmark has only a tiny Jewish population, since most escaped to Sweden during the World War II Holocaust. The newspaper says that the cartoons will lampoon the Holocaust despite denials by the Iranian government that the Holocaust even happened.

Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper that first published the cartoons did issue an apology to Arab countries on Monday, shortly after the EU office incident. But with the support of the government of Denmark, the newspaper had earlier defended its actions fiercely, citing the universal right to free press, and its duty to serve democratic traditions by inspiring debate. Indeed, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, said “We are talking about an issue with fundamental significance to how democracies work.” In fact, some European pundits have placed more fault on Muslims for refusing to “accept Western standards of free speech and pluralism”. When the cartoons were originally published in 2005 they were intended to highlight and redress the unequal restrictions applied to Islamic content in European newspapers in comparison with content referring to other religions. The cartoons are also self-referential, with one character in the cartoons writing in Arabic on a blackboard “Jyllands-Posten’s journalists are a bunch of reactionary provocateurs”, and another cartoon showing a cartoonist having to work in hiding because one of the cartoons he is drawing includes an image of the Prophet Mohammad. The text around the cartoons stated:

“The modern, secular society is rejected by some Muslims. They demand a special position, insisting on special consideration of their own religious feelings. It is incompatible with contemporary democracy and freedom of speech, where you must be ready to put up with insults, mockery and ridicule. It is certainly not always equally attractive and nice to look at, and it does not mean that religious feelings should be made fun of at any price, but that is less important in this context. […] we are on our way to a slippery slope where no-one can tell how the self-censorship will end. That is why Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten has invited members of the Danish editorial cartoonists union to draw Muhammad as they see him. […]”

However, some world leaders have elected to help defuse what could be a major social crisis in Europe and the Middle East. France’s foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said that freedom of the press should be exercised “in the spirit of tolerance”, sentiments which were echoed by United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan. Ursula Plassnik, foreign minister of Austria, said that the European community must “clearly condemn” acts which insult religion. And Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan, warned Europe that “any insult to the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) is an insult to more than one billion Muslims and an act like this must never be allowed to be repeated.”

Rasmussen, in an interview with Arabic TV Al arabia, said that “…Danish government condemns any expression and any action which offends people’s religious feelings…” and also said that he does not understand why, as the cartoons were originally published in September, the situation has only truly started to deteriorate in the past week.

In Denmark, there are counter-demonstrations by moderate Muslims saying they don’t want the images banned. Munira Mirza commented that many Muslims “want to be able to say: ‘Hey we’re not children, we can handle criticism, we don’t need special protection – we’re equal’. Many don’t want to be treated as a special group, seen as worthy of more protection from criticism than other groups because of their apparent victim status.”

Religious satirist Stewart Lee commented that Jyllands-Posten had “tried to deal with a subject they don’t know enough about, and this is one of the teething problems of the cross-over of cultures in the world. I’m sure the level of offence is far greater than would have been intended.”

In France

The director (Directeur de publication) of “France Soir”, a French national newspaper was fired in response for publishing a cartoon titled: “Yes, we have the right to (joke about) characterise God” (Oui, on a le droit de caricaturer Dieu). The “France-Soir” web site is presently offline. The cartoon is partially visible on a nouvelobs.com website.

Today, Libération, another French national newspaper, is publishing two of the “Mohammad Cartoons”. Other newspapers across France are asking for their rights to freedom of the press to be defended.

Charlie Hebdo, a well-known satirical newspaper, will publish articles to support cartoonists, freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

The general reaction in France seems to be that most citizens except religious people (Catholics, Muslims,…) are astounded by the level of anger against the “Mohammad Cartoons”.

In Australia

On February 9 2006 Queensland Premier Peter Beattie gave The Courier Mail Newspaper his blessings in publishing the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons/depictions of Muhammad stating that he is a firm believer in free speech and ones freedom of expression. On the very same day he got his legal representative to write to the author of this site photoduck.com demanding he censor material relating to him and his Government.

Online

Although many newspapers have not republished the cartoons in order to avoid backlashes, the drawings have appeared on the Internet and are being revealed at a number of Web sites and blogs. On January 30th, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin placed the drawings on her blog, and encouraged others to do the same.

Related news

Sources

Wikipedia Learn more about freedom of speech in France on Wikipedia.

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